Apple Officially Announces iPhone 5S and 5C
The months of speculation are over. Apple has held their event and officially ended the rampant rumors on what is coming in Apple's flagship product: the iPhone. And surprisingly, the rumor mill was largely spot on, as Apple did indeed release two different iPhone models, as expected, along with many of the features that have been discussed and debated.
I watched the Live Blog from TUAW and listened to the great commentary from Chris Pirillo and took note of all the major developments and announcements for you here. (Here's Apple's delayed stream of the event.)
Apple did indeed release a new, more affordable model of iPhone that is really interesting. The iPhone 5C is essentially an iPhone 5, with a unistructure plastic, seamless back that comes in a variety of pastel colors: green, yellow, blue, white and red. The colors are perfectly coordinated with the new iOS7 colors.
The iPhone 5C comes with a beautiful 4-inch Retina Display, integrated touch, full sRBG standard and widescreen video. It's powered by the A6 chip and includes an 8 megapixel iSight camera, hybrid IR filter and 5 element lens. The front-facing FaceTime HD camera includes a 1.9-micron pixel size for better low-light conditions.
The iPhone 5C starts at $99 for the 16GB capacity and $199 for the 32GB capacity, and is available for preorder Sept. 13th.
According to Apple executive Phil Schiller, the iPhone 5S is "the most forward-thinking phone we've ever created." This statement is based on the massive improvements in both performance and security that are included in the model.
iPhone 5S Performance Improvements
The new iPhone includes the powerful A7 chip and boasts true 64-bit architecture, representing a huge leap in performance. With the new iOS7, which runs in 64-bit mode, users will experience twice the performance and speed as iPhone 5 users, and 40x greater performance than the original iPhone. All built-in apps have been re-engineered to take advantage of the new architecture, and the transition for developers should be seamless as iOS7 and the iPhone 5S will continue to support 34-bit apps.
Apple has also introduced a new co-processor called the M7 for motion. It continually measures motion data via accelerometer, gyroscope and compass, delivering incredible amounts of information that will power a new generation of health and fitness apps. Nike is already working on a new app called Nike+Move that will use this capability to track and monitor your activity.
The iPhone 5S features 10 hours of 3G talk time, 250 hours on standby, 10 hours of LTE browsing and over 40 hours of music playback. The phone is available in space grey, gold and silver models.
iPhone 5S Camera and Photo Improvements
One area where each generation of iPhone continues to improve is in the camera and photo-taking, and the iPhone 5S doesn't disappoint. Not only is the new camera better, it's smarter.
The new camera uses a 5-element Apple-designed lens, with a f/2.2 aperture, and a 15% larger active sensor area for better pictures. "Bigger pixels make for a better picture" according to Phil Schiller. The new iOS7 camera app automatically adjusts the white balance, exposure levels, and tones. It also provides "autofocus matrix metering," picking the sharpest of a series of photos. Flash has also been improved, called "True Tone" to deliver enhanced lighting qualities. Automatic image stabilization is also included. A new Burst Mode is included that will allow you to hold the shutter and shoot up to 10 frames per second.
The iPhone 5S brings slow motion video to the smartphone. At 120 fps, you can shoot action and slow it down. You can choose in the video editor which segments of your 720p video to keep in slow mode and which to use at normal speed.
The camera continues to improve on panorama shots allowing you to adjust the exposure automatically as you pan.
iPhone 5S Security Improvements
Touch ID is built into the new and completely redesigned Home button. The sensor is 170 microns thin with a 500 pip resolution. It scans the sub-epidermal layer of the finger, with 360 degree readability. Around the sensor is a stainless-steel detection ring. It simply "knows" when your finger is on the button.
There's a sapphire crystal inside that acts as a lens. The sensor actually takes a "picture" of your fingerprint and analyzes it. The detector maps individual details - details that the naked eye cannot see. The fingerprint is NEVER stored on Apple servers or iCloud. It is local to your iPhone only.
It's built deeply into iOS7. You can purchase from iTunes simply using your finger to authenticate, and iOS7 supports multiple fingerprints.
The iPhone 5S will be in stores on September 20th, and start at $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB. You can compare the iPhone 5C, 5S and 4S here.
Of course, the new devices will be running Apple's new mobile OS, iOS7. For iPhone 4+ or iPad 2+ users, you can upgrade to iOS7 for free on September 18th. The new OS not only includes a new design, but a great many improvements.
Additionally, all new iOS device owners will be able to download the iWork apps (Pages, Keynote and Numbers) as well as iPhoto and iMovie completely free. This is a move that Apple should have made a long time ago, if it really wanted to encourage use of these apps and their platforms for creation.
There are some really critical points within these announcements and developments which speak to the direction that Apple is going.
First, the development of the iPhone 5C is as much for existing markets as it is for China. Apple will be making the iPhone available to the Chinese market via China Mobile, the single largest cell carrier in the world. Apple is also breaking into Japan through a similar deal. As a result, the smartphone market and iPhone sales (and iOS / iOS app usage) is going to explode.
And let's be clear, the "C" does not stand for Cheap. Apple does not make cheap products, and the iPhone 5C is by no means a cheap device. It is more affordable, to be sure, but not cheap.
Rather, one might look at the iPhone 5C as another premium product from Apple, and the iPhone 5S as something even better. With it's sophisticated design and luxury colors, the 5S really stands out in the smartphone market, which is also appealing to Chinese consumers, who either want affordable or really expensive.
Second, the addition of Touch ID and 64-bit architecture are enhancements that speak to the Enterprise market more than consumers, though many consumers will be excited about these developments, to be sure. But in the corporate world, iPhone adoption has always lagged behind Blackberry and Android devices due, in large part, to security concerns. If Enterprise IT Administrators can suddenly receive assurances to the security of their data and VPN, we may see an uptick in iPhone utilization at that level.
What wasn't discussed was Apple TV, iPad or even the new Mac OS. It had been suggested that Apple TVs were going to receive a new OS, more in line with iOS, and that perhaps a new iPad would be unveiled. Perhaps Apple decided, as they have before, to keep those announcements separate from that of the new iPhone.
So today's announcements from Apple represented some very interesting developments for a lot of different people. Consumers got better cameras and cool color options, businesses got tighter security, and Apple got what it's wanted for years: China.
Did you get what you wanted?